Though there are many school regional movies, I had to mention this movie for a reason! – just a look-alike reason which my school buddies know!. Panneer Pushpangal – is a 1981 tamil regional School movie which was a big box-office hit.
Twenty years later, there is another movie – Sattai. Sattai (2012) is compleletly set in the school environment and conveyed good social messages loud and clear – while at times the hero went into a preaching and sentiment mode, it was still a good watch considering the messages it supported. It was one of those movies which proved that the audience will support movies with good messages if delivered well.
The theme of this movie was very similar to Paneer Pushpangal movie in some way – the challenges of teachers handling the kids in a matured way, the teenage love (mostly infatuation!) coming on the way of the students future, etc. It still hurts to know that as a society we still are handling basic challenges on child education across the country for the past twenty years.
School is a necessary part of any child’s growing years. At the same time, I feel the education a child gets outside the class room in the society is the one which shapes up the child – life skills is the most important part of education and I wish more schools focus on the holistic development of children.
It was a very typical Sunday evening but for the heavy rains lashing out – we were waiting after the music class hoping that the rains will stop. Children started talking and playing. I started a polite conversation with another mom who was also waiting for the rain to stop. When I inquired about how long it takes for her to reach home from the class, she said around 1.30 hours. As it was already 7.15 pm, I was calculating that it will be almost 9 pm for her to reach home. So, I made a comment “oh, it will be late for the kids…what time they need to leave home in the morning for school?” (am I being too obsessed with others problems or am I having OCD when it comes to punctuality?). Without getting touched by my unwarranted concern, she very calmly answered “they are home-schooling”. It took me a minute to orient and understand what she meant – while I have heard the concept of home-schooling, I have heard it very infrequently in India – few cases I knew of were from the perspective of specific reasons – security reasons for the royal kids, special children who need additional attention, etc.
Now I became even more curious and my mind was bubbling up with more and more questions….considering the rain gods were at mercy with me, I got into an interviewing mode with her
Why did you decide to do homeschooling?
It was more of an experiment – we wanted our children to be out of the rat race – we wanted them to learn for the sake of knowledge – we can only experiment with our own children
So, how is the schedule of a week day look?
Children get up early and spend time on yoga and pranayama. Then they help me in household chores – after breakfast, they spend around 3 hours per day on studies. As they are now on their own, they study other reference books or research on the internet. In the evening they go for basketball classes and play with the neighbourhood children.
Will they able to manage the board exams when they come to the senior classes (10th grade and 12th grade in India are board exams)?
Yes, ofcourse. The elder one is at 11th grade now and she did pretty well in her 10th classes.
Is homeschooling difficult?
Yes, it is difficult at the initial stages. I spent lot of time with the kids initially . I stopped working full time as homeschooling is possible only if an adult is at home guiding the children..
When I came back home, the conversation was going on replay mode in the back of my mind – made me log into the net and read more about home-schooling. I also happened to hit on this news article where the mom I spoke to and her kids were interviewed already – http://woman.intoday.in/woman/story.jsp?sid=6749
For me, home-schooling sounded like a great concept – making children learn for the sake of knowledge at their own pace and pulling them out of the rat race. While I still have reservations about the children’s view of it (my kids love the fun time they have with their classmates at school and they relate so much to school) and the impact of homeschooling on children’s social skills, I think it needs lots of dedication from the parent (invariably I read only about women supporting homeschooling of their kids full time).
Also, it takes lot of courage and the ability to take a risk if you try any thing which is out of ordinary – definetly the women who are handling the home-schooling for their children seem to be more courageous and is out of the ordinary here in India!!………..
All the best, folks!!!
As part of our team’s 2011 annual goal setting/team bonding sessions in Bangalore, we had a trekking session in Maaribetta day before yesterday (Saturday). It was a team of 22 who came from all over India for the two-day sessions!
Maaribetta or Banathamaaribetta is a little known adventure destination, near Bangalore. We took the help of Woody Adventure Inc, an adventure event management company (Thank you, Raj! You referred the right organizers) in Bangalore. The hill is located 55 km from Bangalore near Kanakapura and 6 km on the Ramnagar road. The trek through the rocky slopes, thorny bushes made the trip very challenging and interesting. This place is also an ideal destination for photography – actually couple of eligible bachelors ensured that they captured their pictures in Maaribetta background for their matrimonial picture portfolio 🙂 🙂 !!!
The group was a mix of male/female and young/old. While couple in this group had experienced trekking earlier, for most of the participants, this was the first time trekking experience. Mr.Muniraj was our guide from Woody Adventure, and was ably supported by Sangeeth, a 3rd year electrical engineering student from BMS engineering college, Bangalore (he said, it was his part-time job!!). Through the entire trip, Mr. Muniraj was giving us lot of instructions and I found that there were many management lessons in them to remember and implement – read them below!
We reached the foothills of Marribetta at around 9.45 am (I have to commend the skills of the driver who drove through those muddy village narrow roads). Mr. Muniraj requested us to form a small circle and addressed us – “ We have two options for this trek. One – easy but takes longer time and the second one is moderately difficult but takes less time. I will suggest the second one. We have taken even 5th grade school children on this and they made it easily. Let me know your choice”. There was hustle and bustle with the team, when three of us opted for the second moderately difficult option, there was a sudden wave and everyone (even the ones who was skeptical about the whole concept of trek) opted for it.
- Lesson 1 – Give the options to the team. Set expectations – state the real scenario.
- Lesson 2 – When the leaders make the decision and set an example, it becomes easier for the team to follow.
Once our guide saw that the team is up for the trek, he went on with the instructions. “We need very minimal things with us – just water and some light snacks, caps and coolers. Avoid all fancy bags – if you have a small light backpack, take it.”
- Lesson 3: If your goal is on something high, keep your requirements minimal. Less baggage, more comfort.
We started walking and it was indeed a memorable one. Mr.Muniraj was so knowledgable and kept the team motivated through the trek with his instructions. While we did not spot any wild animals, he did show us the droppings/footprints of elephant, bear, panther, rabbits, porcupine, antlions. He also showed us the trees which are dangerous (itchy trees) and the antiseptic plants. He insisted that nature is beyond us and if we understand it, we will become very humble.
- Lesson 4 – Understand the big picture. You will know who you are.
- Lesson 5 – Take Small steps – one step at a time
- Lesson 6 – When you need support, ask for help
- Lesson 7 – Lead, follow or get out-of-the-way
- Lesson 8 – In a team, the leader leads the way and everyone has a part to play
At one point, I was almost stuck – perching on a steep rock, not sure of my next step. The guide saw me and said – “Feel the rock and focus on your steps”. It just hit me…….how true…..all I need to do is to focus on my next step and not on anything else.
- Lesson 9 – Focus on your next steps.
We had a wonderful time and came back as a satisfied team with more learnings to operate as a team!!
- Author – Dr. Spencer Johnson
- Category – Non fiction
- My rating – 3 on 5 (This is revised rating, owing to the benefit of doubt on the expectation mismatch)
Imp Note-I found a free ebook link for this book on the web, which i have linked to the image above. So, if you want to read this book online, click on the image above.
Short notes & good quotes
When I finished reading this book, I was disappointed. I have heard so much about this book from my acquaintances from various circles (professional, personal, social) and most of it was high ratings. When I actually started on this book, probably my expectations were too high, higher than what my acquaintances were actually trying to portray. It may be one of the classic communication challenges – where the noise gets amplified – just that in this case, my expectation about the book got amplified so much based on the earlier feedback from others.
Overall, the cheese story and the characters – two little rats (Sniff and Scurry) and the two little people (Hem and Haw) is a simple story which also makes a feasible bed time story for kids.
The book has many quotes on change management (listed for reference here), but if you ask me about the topmost takeaway from this book, for which I will remember this book is
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WEREN’T AFRAID?
This is an excellent question which I think I will be asking myself whenever I am taking a decision in whatever circumstances – be it personal or professional.
The other worth mentioning quotes on change management (substitute cheese with what we want to have in life)
- Having Cheese makes you happy
- The more important cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it
- If you do not change, you can become Extinct
- What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
- Smell the cheese often so you would know when it is getting old
- Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese
- When you stop being afraid, you feel good
- Imagining yourself enjoying new cheese , leads you to it
- The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese
- It is safer to search in a maze, than remain in a cheese less situation
- OId beliefs do not lead you to new cheese
- When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese you change course
- Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes that are to come
- Change happens
- Anticipate Change
- Monitor Change
- Adapt to Change quickly
- Enjoy Change
- Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again